I can’t decide which I like better:
The unassuming steps that lead to the tea room
The classic vintage style
The ambiance and the feelings it invokes
The display of cakes
The exquisite taste of the teas
Or the teapots that the teas are served in
The fact that I can’t decide which attracts me more makes me love the Tea Room even more.
My Korean friend had told me about this place earlier in the year but it wasn’t until Christmas 2016 that I visited with a few other friends after exploring Il Mercato. Siena never ceases to amaze me and I was absolutely disappointed in myself for having taken forever to visit this place especially as this St. Lucian ti ma may (girl) is a lover of teas among caffe lovers.
This 15th-century cavern opened since 1985, has a cool and relaxed ambiance thanks to the antique decor surrounded by dimmed lights with music playing in the background that range from jazz to acoustic to live performances to cabaret and theatre. One of the many elements that caught my eye was il piano grande…I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a grand piano, even if you don’t play. The space in the room is limited but it works out with furniture and decor being just the right size to bring out the feeling of being a bit claustrophobic but intimate and spacious. It’s a weird combination I know but I think that adds to its charm. The only thing missing is a change of outfit to fit the decor.
The owner of the Tea Room, Ilario, has poured 20 years of his heart into this masterpiece which serves up 100 types of teas from around the world and homemade sweets.
I more appreciate looking at cakes than eating them and for those who enjoy doing both, you won’t be disappointed. Always on display are the extensive flavors of cakes along with their crafty designs. On my second visit there I had the pleasure of tasting 2 cakes. Unfortunately, I can’t remember their names but I did prefer one to the other. Regardless of not being a sweet tooth fan, one can’t argue that le torte sono deliziose.
What is most difficult is choosing the tea that you want! When a menu has so many options, my heart leaps with joy but then I get overwhelmed because I now have to decide which can be very nerve-wracking. I don’t know, that’s just the way I am-I want many options and then feel overwhelmed by them. Why can’t I have them all? Or better question, why can’t I afford them all?
Serving up the tea is no ordinary thing, my dear friend. When that tea rolled up in that teapot chinaware with each of us receiving one, well, the only thing I couldn’t do was run, change my outfit and start acting the part of a 15/16th century or 1920’s noble lady. The experience is absolutely fascinating- un passo indietro al tempo-a little step back in time.
That’s what I call an ultimate experience for your money.
Service was quick despite it being a packed house and each type of tea ordered comes with a strainer to filter out the herbs from the liquid. E una experienza autentica and takes away from the modernity of simply placing a tea bag in a hot cup of water and then pulling it out. Once or twice I might have forgotten to use the strainer and ended up with herbs in my mouth.
For those who don’t put sugar in their tea like me, they offer honey which is very much appreciated.
It’s a lovely little place to relax after dinner and on a cold winter night and for those who aren’t big on tea, they provide chocolate drinks, wines, and other liqueur.
I can’t wait to go back to Siena and do some more tea tasting and experience the many cabarets that they put on during the year.
LOCATION: Via di Porta Giustizia. Find your way in Piazza Mercato, take a left onto Via Malcontenti and just before turning the left to Via Salicotto, you’ll see steps leading downwards.
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